That picture above, dear blog reader, is a proud moment for me. To see my novel on my kindle for the first time is a strange thing indeed.
But before you hurry away to look for it on Amazon I should point out that it’s not there yet, I was only testing to see what it looked like on kindle. And oh man, talk about a tingling feeling of excitement, hope, pride and fear to some degree…all of those and more!
After all the writing, editing (oh so much editing) tweaking, messing, fiddling, head scratching, formatting, coding, tinkering, adjusting, replacing…and everything in between, it really is finished. Well, with the exception of one thing, some feedback on my American character and his dialogue, but other than that it’s done!
Learning curves all the way.
This is something of a strange admission as I’ve been writing for a number of years, but I’ve only recently got my head around a few key things. I always had a vague idea of the difference between a hyphen, en dash and em dash, though I never paid much attention to their specific uses.
When I’m busy writing away those little details get lost along the way, and it’s only when I used Notepad++ to look at the code behind the Word doc or html file, then previewing the whole thing on kindle, that I realised there were a lot of inconsistencies surrounding them.
I wanted to make sure my ebook was as polished as possible so I researched which hyphen, en dash and em dash went where and why. And I’m glad I did because it makes more sense now than a week ago, and it looks better too.
It certainly paid off to search for inconsistencies, silly things like when I used the word YouTube and Youtube, and that I only spotted one lower case T when test reading the book on kindle, yet never noticed it when staring at the Word doc on my PC.
And then there’s the Dad/dad or Mum/mum issue I couldn’t seem to get right.
Was it one or the other?
Both but at certain times?
Is it different when used in dialogue?
Some might say Google is your pal, but not always. Anyone can type random gibberish into Google, search through websites that appear to be credible but could have been written by clever monkey’s, and diagnose themselves with Restless Travellers Aphasia of the Knee, or something equally exotic.
In the end I found what I was looking for, and after cross-checking it I found it to be clearly explained, this borrowed from The Writer’s ABC Checklist by Lorraine Mace:
An easy way to remember when to use a capital letter is to determine whether or not the title is being used as a proper noun (as a name). If it is, then it needs to start with a capital letter.
So, if writing dialogue and addressing someone directly, it would be:
- “How are you feeling, Mum?”
- “Are you going fishing, Dad?”
- “Put that bottle down, Aunt Sally. You drink too much.”
However, if you’re writing about a family member and the title is modified by our/your/my/his/her/etc, then it doesn’t take a capital and would be:
- “How is your mum feeling?”
- “My mum is feeling down because of my aunt Sally’s drinking.”
- “Is his dad going fishing with your dad?”
- “My dad is going, but his dad isn’t.”
The above rule applies in narrative, not just for dialogue:
My mum is fed up because my dad is always going fishing.
Just thought I’d share that with you, dear blog reader. Share the knowledge, increase the power!
Html formatting for ebooks.
This was something of a challenge for me despite my knowledge of html. I’m very grateful for the Ebook Formatting guide by JW Manus, who has some excellent instructions on how to knock your document into shape and get it ready for publishing as an ebook.
I’ve leaned that whilst you can upload your Word doc to Amazon and let its engine sort out the rest, it pays to do it yourself to ensure you have good clean code that will display correctly on as many e-readers as possible.
I’m tempted to write my own guide on how I did this in another post with big pictures and step-by-step notes to help those keen on publishing their own ebooks.
As a little example here’s a photo of my contents page:
I’m very happy with that layout. Still getting the shivers from seeing that you know!
And here’s the code layout for that page in Notepad++:
It’s quite easy to get your head around once you learn how it all fits together.
A guide for another time I think. I’ll look into that for a post next week. I figure why go through all that learning and keep the knowledge to myself? Just as JW Manus shared, I’d like to do the same.
So what’s next?
I don’t have a book cover yet. That’s something of an important element. It will happen all in good time, though sooner rather than later would be ace so I can share it with you good people. Right now I’m wearing my big “I did it!” grin and the feeling of pride and accomplishment is pretty cool.
I write all the time so accomplishing something like finishing a writing project isn’t that much of a big deal. But seeing the polished version is exciting, a first for any of my writing projects.
At some point I’ll create a new section on my blog for The Range, not sure what yet, pictures, synopsis, details of the sequel and so on. So whilst I wait for the book cover I’ll crack on with the follow-up, The Holt. I’ve already written around 60,000 words but it’s a bit rough and ready.
Now I’m junking the junk and stitching together the good stuff and working from there. The Range is 147,000 words, whereas The Holt will likely hit the 200,000 mark at a rough guess.
I’ve had an idea to get readers involved with the second book, a competition of sorts, but I’m keeping it secret for the time being until The Range is published and I’ve figured out the details. So far I think it’s a cracking idea, so I’ll let you know more about that another time.
Short n sweet.
That’s my update for now. Not my usual full on post I know but I wanted to share my joy with the progress of The Range so far. Exciting times are ahead!